This document is part of the Induction resources for board directors resource.

1.1 Purpose of the Code

This Code of Conduct is based on the Victorian public sector values and sets the standard of behaviour expected of Directors and statutory office holders from the date of their appointment. The behaviours are essential to how Directors and statutory office holders perform their duties and to the relationship they have with their portfolio Minister, departmental and public entity staff, and the community.

1.2 Other Available Guidance

The behaviours required by this Code exemplify the duties and values contained in the Public Administration Act 2004 (the Act). In addition to the standard of behaviour set by this Code, there may be specific guidance that is contained in other legislation, or a policy or procedure set down by the public entity or by some other relevant authority. Directors who are unsure of the appropriate action to take in a particular situation should seek advice from their Chairperson. The Chairperson may seek advice from the Secretary of the portfolio department.

A Code of Conduct cannot anticipate every possible situation. Where policies and procedures are unclear or prove insufficient in particular circumstances, it is advisable to go back to first principles. This means considering the core ideas contained in both the Code and the public sector values on which it is based. Directors should also consider their duties under the Act.

1.3 Professional Codes of Conduct

Certain professions have professional codes of conduct that establish specific behaviours relevant to that profession. This Code specifies the behaviour expected of Directors and should be read in conjunction with any professional code of conduct. Relevant Directors need to be aware of their professional code of conduct as well as the provisions of this Code.

Professional codes set out a range of matters relating to the profession including dealing with breaches of the professional code. A breach of a professional code may affect the capacity of a relevant Director to continue to act in that profession and may also affect the ability of that Director to undertake duties as a Board member. However a breach of this Code and any sanctions arising can only be determined in accordance with procedures established for this Code.

1.4 Breach of this Code

Directors must familiarise themselves with this Code. A failure to behave in the ways described in the Code may be considered misconduct and in the most serious cases may lead to suspension or removal from office. Additionally a Director who improperly uses their position to gain an advantage for themselves or someone else, or to cause detriment to the public entity will be liable for their actions under both civil and criminal law.